Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Graveyard spot

On Monday I went to a seminar at the British Library. Once again it proved to me that they keep the most boring speakers for after lunch when everybody is sleepy. Is there some kind of sweepstake among conference organisers to see how many people they can send to the land of nod?
Anyway, this time they excelled themselves. The bloke giving the talk was a substitute and he was clearly terrified! He was quietly spoken and had a strong Lancashire accent and he gabbled. He was incomprehensible. I tried to listen to him but after 5 minutes and I could feel me eyelids growing heavy so I decided to write a letter on the complimentary pad of A4 British Library paper they had given me.
When I looked round after 10 minutes or so there must have been at least 5 people asleep. There were others reading the brochures that had come with their welcome pack. Others were tapping away on their laptops - I bet they were playing spider solitaire. At least the speaker didn't notice as he never took his eyes from his notes or the screen. But it was toe curlingly awful. At the end of his talk the chairman who could obviously see everyone's inattention said: "Well, thank you, it's always difficult to deliver somebody else's talk"
The two guys in front of me were American and this speech (incomprehensible to everyone) had been proceeded by a talk by a Glaswegian! The last speaker before tea was an American and you could see them almost crying with relief!
Still, a trip to London is better than proper work. I got a lovely lunch and when I should have been networking at the lunch break I went for a little walk around the British Library and visited their lovely shop.

1 comment:

katemcnabb said...

Speaking as someone who gets stuck organising conferences and worries constantly about audiences falling asleep, I find your tale very interesting. I always try and keep something vaguely exciting in the bag for after lunch (although we are talking about software so obviously there are limits).

Feel sorry for that guy but more sorry for you having to sit through it!